Background Material on Québec’s New Code of Civil Procedure

Quebec’s new Code of Civil Procedure came into force on January 1, 2016. It involves an ambitious overhaul of the way cases are supposed to work their way through the courts and it is intended to increase access to justice.

CAIJ, the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (the network of courthouse law libraries associated with the Québec Bar Association), recently added an annotated version of the province’s new Code of Civil Procedure to its website (in the lefthand column of the eLois page, click on “Code de procédure civile (nouveau)”). 

 The annotation includes the sections of the new Code, a list of changes in legal terminology, a concordance between the new and old Codes, background commentaries for each section from the provincial Ministry of Justice, links to related regulations, links to any research questions relating to the Code answered by the CAIJ libraries, as well as links to debates in the Québec National Assembly and positions adopted by the Québec Bar Association. It is a very detailed resource for anyone trying to navigate through the new document.

The Quebec Ministry of Justice website has posted material of a more general nature explaining the main highlights of the changes:

“The new Code of Civil Procedure is intended to make the civil justice system more accessible, while protecting the rights of all parties to state their claims before a court. To reduce delays in the justice system, the new Code gives priority to amicable dispute resolution processes such as mediation, arbitration and conciliation, which are less confrontational, more accessible and more likely to ensure a quick outcome.”

“Parties that opt for a traditional trial in court must ensure that all their applications, pleadings and evidence are proportionate to the nature and complexity of the case, in order to prevent abuses of procedure.”

“Judges will have greater powers to manage cases, in particular to ensure compliance with the principles of proportionality and cooperation at the heart of the new Code of Civil Procedure. For example, they will be able to reduce the number of examinations and expert opinions required; both these elements have often been identified as causing significant costs or delays for citizens.”

Finally, on January 26, 2016, the Montreal French-language daily La Presse published a series of articles on the new Code:

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